In 2015, a local large-diameter steel pipe producer contracted Rockford Engineering to assist them with the design and implementation of a new Double-Joining facility. Double-Joining is a process where spiral pipe offcuts are re-cut, bevelled, welded together, and inspected to form a saleable full-length product. Their current system did not have the capability to process the larger diameter and heavier wall product that would be produced.
The client elected to re-purpose an existing building on their current site that would house a combination of used equipment (purchased by the client), re-purposed equipment from their existing process, and new designs. Rockford’s scope of work was as follows:
- Evaluate and survey the existing buildings to determine available space, yard machine travel paths, crane way envelopes, and overall product flow.
- Evaluate and catalogue purchased equipment using existing drawings and felid sketching. Equipment such as conveyors, lifts/letdowns, skids, and indexers were obtained by the client from a decommissioned facility elsewhere.
- Analyze existing client process equipment to determine what could be used in the new layout. This included sorting through archive drawings and field sketching certain areas during periodic maintenance shutdowns.
- Design and prepare drawings for all new process and handling equipment that would be required to complement the purchased and existing equipment.
Purchased equipment was offloaded and staged at the client’s yard. Rockford field sketched and cross-referenced the existing drawings to ensure no discrepancies existed. All equipment was 3D modelled in Autodesk Inventor and was reviewed for both fit and function to determine what would or would not work in the new layout. An in-depth understanding of pipe handling and how different types of process equipment needed to fit together to work properly was key in determining what was practical and usable. Rockford’s focus during the sketching of the client’s existing process equipment was on takeover points, operational envelope, and capacity limitations. A fundamental understanding of how pipe is bevelled, welded, handled, and inspected was crucial in evaluating the viable relocation of the client’s existing equipment. A costs benefit analysis was performed to determine if it was commercially profitable to relocate and repurpose the equipment, or to make new. Our experience in the tube and pipe industry allowed us to prepare high-level cost estimates regarding design, fabrication, and installation in order for the client to make informed and timely decisions.
Rockford was also tasked with performing a detailed cycle time analysis for the facility. Both new and existing hydraulic power units were to be considered and a completely new circuit design was required for the new layout. This included P&ID’s, line sizing, valve selection, and pipe transfer time estimates.
All equipment was pulled together in one master 3D model and presented to the client for feedback. A number of tweaks and iterations took place to ensure all client’s internal departments were satisfied with the product flow, area access, and safety (engineering, operations, maintenance).
All fabrication and installation were awarded to a local shop that Rockford often works closely with. We were able to work easily with them to ensure all designs were completed to spec. and that all equipment was installed as intended.
Work with Rockford
Rockford Engineering has specific expertise regarding mechanical and automation design in the pipe handling industry. Our engineers’ combination of both practical in-the-field experience and technical training makes us a perfect candidate for projects such as this.
Our in-depth understanding of how pipe is made and processed can be an asset in both greenfield and brownfield initiatives. Whether designing a new system for your specific application or analyzing an existing system for improvement and optimization, Rockford can help.